Guidelines for Visitors and Designated Support Persons

(Updated October 15, 2021)

NO VISITORS ARE ALLOWED in all our hospitals and health care facilities.

Exceptions are in place for patients patients who are eligible for a designated support person (DSP)


As of November 19, 2021, Designated Support Persons (DSPs) will need to be fully vaccinated to visit an admitted patient or to accompany an outpatient. These measures are necessary for the safety of our vulnerable patients as well as our employees, physicians, and volunteers. This delayed implementation date will give unvaccinated PSDs the opportunity to get fully vaccinated (2 doses of the vaccine, with the 2nd dose dating back to more than 14 days) by November 19.

Eligible patients will be asked to identify a fully vaccinated designated support person. If this is not possible, an unvaccinated designated support person will be allowed to visit if they meet the following COVID-19 testing requirements:

  • Until November 19, unvaccinated designated support persons will be required to:
    • Show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of the visit. If it is not possible to get a screening test before admission, the test should be scheduled as soon as possible, and the test date communicated to the health care team. The negative test result must be demonstrated when received.
    • Get tested on days 5 and 10 if visits continue, and present evidence of negative test results.
    • Get tested twice a week if visits continue after day 10 and present evidence of negative test results.
    • Not have symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Practise proper hand hygiene, wear a mask, limit movement inside the hospital, agree to go only to the patient's room, respect physical distancing (2 metres), and limit interactions with staff, other patients and visitors.
  • For Emergency Department or Ambulatory Care visits
    • ONLY ONE designated support person is allowed for patients requiring physical or emotional support, decision-making or communication assistance. This person must be fully vaccinated.
    • If the DSP is not fully vaccinated, the COVID-19 testing requirements listed above apply. Exceptions can be made for the DSP accompanying pediatric patients, patients with special needs and for Emergency Department visits.

To make an appointment for a COVID-19 screening test, contact Tele-Care at 811 or submit an online request.


Exceptions for designated support persons

The Network recognizes how important it is for certain patients to have a loved at their side, and a designated support person is allowed to attend on a flexible schedule.

A designated support person can be essential to a patient’s wellness. They can support the patient in different ways. They can, for example:

  • Help them make decisions;
  • Provide physical or emotional support;
  • Help them eat, wash or communicate.


Patients who may have a designated support person:

Patients in pediatrics / pediatric psychiatry, neonatalogy, obstetrics (labour, delivery and post-partum), and intensive / critical care

  • One designated support person at a time.

Patients receiving palliative / end-of-life care

  • One designated support person at a time from a list of 10 people. The hospital must be provided with the list of people beforehand.
  • One spiritual care advisor may also be present to provide comfort.
  • If a designated support person needs assistance, two designated support persons are allowed at the same time.
  • Two designated support persons are allowed at the same time when the patient is at the end of life.

Patients receiving medical assistance in dying

  • One designated support person at a time from a list of 10 people prior to the procedure. The hospital must be provided with the list of people beforehand.
  • During the procedure:
    • Two designated support persons at the same time;
    • One spiritual care advisor may also be present to provide comfort.

Patients hospitalized for 14 or more days

  • One designated support person at a time.

Patients with cognitive / communication impairments (cognitive impairment leading to agitation and inability to console; communication impairment which affects care)

  • One designated support person at a time.

Patients with COVID-19 and patients in isolation with suspected COVID-19

  • No designated support person allowed.

Patients in Emergency and ambulatory services

  • One designated support person only for patients needing physical or emotional support or needing help making decisions or communicating. 
  • One designated support person only for pediatric patients.
  • Pregnant women who have an appointment for an ultrasound exam may be accompanied by one designated support person.

Designated support persons have an important role to play in protecting the health and safety of patients and staff.

  • They must not come to the hospital if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • They must wash their hands often and correctly.
  • They must wear the mask supplied by the Network correctly (with their mouth and nose covered) at all times during their visit.
  • They must comply with physical distancing wherever possible.
  • They must limit their interactions with staff and other visitors.
  • They must leave the patient’s room when staff are performing procedures.

Staff may at any time limit the number of visitors or the length of visits.

Situations may arise where a designated support person is not allowed to be present. In such cases, staff will inform the patient about the options.

Consult the Guide for Designated Support Persons During the Pandemic for further information.

In some cases, physical distancing does not allow a designated support person to be present. In such cases, staff will inform the patient and their designated support person about the options.

Pets are not allowed. 

 

If you have questions about these directives, please contact the Quality and Patient Safety Department at 1-877-286-1311.